Make Your Kitchen or Bathroom Reflect You

Personalizing your kitchen or bathroom can be done many ways. Let's face it - you spend large quantities of time in both rooms, so you should enjoy them to the fullest. The most important thing to remember is that the rooms should reflect you. Maybe it's your favorite color, a collection of items you already own or even a particular flower that catches your eye.

One easy way to personalize your room is to use faux painting, which creates texture or visual interest. The technique can be done in several ways, such as color washing, sponging and ragging, and all easy enough to do yourself. If you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, you can hire an artist. You can paint a window with a view of snow-capped mountains and blossoming trees, or a view of the ocean with its sandy beaches and towering lighthouse peeking through an archway. Create a large bouquet of flowers or fruits on the ceiling above the island area. The possibilities of using this technique are endless - let your imagination run wild!

Another easy idea is stenciling a border. Don't limit yourself to stenciling on a wall. This technique also works well on floors. You can create you own design or buy a pre-cut template. You're bound to find something that fits into your room's style, whether it's country, traditional or even contemporary. Remember... if you stencil the floors, be sure to protect your masterpiece by applying two or three coats of polyurethane.

Adding a backsplash design or a dramatic color scheme is another idea. There are thousands of tile murals already available, or if you're looking for a unique, one-of-a-kind scene, you may want to have one custom designed. Tile designs are plentiful, ranging from realistic tiles to imaginative, unpredictable ones, including animals, fruits and vegetables, plants, flowers and many more. This is the area of the room that can be seen from all angles, so spice it up with your own tastes.

Stephanie Witt, CKD, CBD, of Kitchens By Stephanie, Grand Rapids, Mich., has personalized many kitchens over the years. She recalls two instances where she personalized a kitchen using tiles in the backsplash area.

One was for a family who had antique tiles with house numbers on them that came from past generations. This unique design left the family with something that was not only fashionable, but also brought a special meaning to all of them.

Another client had an artist hand paint cherished family recipes onto tiles and used them to form the backsplash, leaving future generations with something special to enjoy.

Another overlooked area to personalize is the range hood. By painting it a striking color or adding a picture to it, you can add flare and style to your kitchen.

Collections are the one thing that truly enables you to display your personality throughout an entire room. Collections of any shape, size and content can make a wonderful attraction to your kitchen or bathroom. Items such as seashells, rolling pins, lighthouses, cookbooks, or even pictures drawn by your own children or grandchildren will surely add personality to the room.

Designing around the collection can add charm and character. For instance, if you collect coffee mugs, you may want to design your backsplash with colorful coffee mug tiles. Or choose a stencil or border with a coffee design. In the bathroom, add a small decorative shelf to display your collection of colorful fish, and enhance your collection with a shower curtain and a border in a similar design.

Using decorative hardware such as distinctive door and cabinet hinges, doorknobs and cabinet pulls, can drastically alter the overall look of your kitchen and add that personal appeal. It can turn ordinary oak cabinets into anything from an old-fashioned western theme to a high-tech gallery. Cabinet pulls can be made out of materials such as metals, wood, plastic, porcelain or even stone. Several companies have made it their business to hand paint and design unique cabinet pulls to be used in either your kitchen or bathroom. Even if you don't find the design, color or pattern you are looking for, often times they will create it specifically for you.

Antiques can also play a pivotal role in the appearance of your kitchen or bath. By strategically placing a few antiques around the room you can transform an otherwise basic kitchen or bathroom into a warm and inviting room that is rich with culture and style.

"However you decide to personalize your kitchen or bathroom, let it be a true reflection of yourself, and make sure you have fun while you're doing it," Witt stresses. "Make your kitchen or bathroom something special by personalizing it with meaningful items that really show the true you."

National Kitchen & Bath Association
The content of this article is provided courtesy of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). At, you'll find an inspiration gallery of award-winning kitchen and bath designs from NKBA members, complete with photos and floorplans. In addition, this consumer website offers articles and tips written specifically for homeowners, an extensive glossary of kitchen and bath remodeling terms, and illustrations and explanations of kitchen and bath planning guidelines. There, you can also e-mail questions to the NKBA's kitchen and bath experts, as well as order a free copy of the NKBA Kitchen & Bath Workbook.